Current pontiff Pope Benedict XVI has criticized video games that "exalt violence and portray anti-social behaviour" and may be targeted at teenagers, as part of a new public message themed around the 41st World Communications Day.
The theme of this day is "Children and the Media: A Challenge for Education", and Benedict's comments focus around the "complex challenges facing education today [that] are often linked to the pervasive influence of the media in our world."
Benedict, who was born Josef Ratzinger and is a German native, may have been influenced by recent discussions over EU legislation on violent games, with German authorities separatel mulling plans to ban certain violent games within its own borders.
In his message, Benedict specifically singles out "commercial competitiveness compelling communicators to lower standards", continuing: "Any trend to produce programmes and products - including animated films and video games - which in the name of entertainment exalt violence and portray anti-social behaviour or the trivialization of human sexuality is a perversion, all the more repulsive when these programmes are directed at children and adolescents."
The leader of the Roman Catholic Church continues: "How could one explain this ‘entertainment’ to the countless innocent young people who actually suffer violence, exploitation and abuse?"
His message then concludes: "Again I appeal to the leaders of the media industry to educate and encourage producers to safeguard the common good, to uphold the truth, to protect individual human dignity and promote respect for the needs of the family."